School outgrows the former Idlewild Baptist Church
By B.C. Manion
Carrollwood Day School has broken ground on a new elementary school and is set to make considerable renovations to the main building on its Bearss Avenue campus to create a permanent home for its high school.
The school, at 1515 W. Bearss Ave., had a groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 21 to celebrate the first phase of the school’s projects which are expected to be completed within eight months.
The existing 32,000-square-foot school building will be enlarged to 45,000 square feet to accommodate the school’s high school students. The renovated structure will be shared by the high school and middle school, and the portable classroom buildings, now housing the high school will be removed, said Shannon Gauthier, marketing director for Carrollwood Day School.
The expanded space includes additional second floor space and a new theater/auditorium. It also includes state-of-the-art science and language labs, arts and humanities spaces.
“This whole thing came about because our high school took off so well,” Gauthier said, referring to the school’s high school program that began in 2006. The school wants the new space to be able to accommodate a high school of 400 students, 100 at each grade level.
The new elementary school, for students in grades one through five, will be 35,000 square feet. Beyond classrooms, it will integrate the latest technology to encourage collaborative work among children in different classrooms.
The school also has an early childhood center at 12606 Casey Road, which educates children age 2 through kindergarten.
The early childhood and upper school campuses serve students from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
The school has raised $2.5 million of the $8 million needed for phase one of its campus expansion. It has secured a loan for the improvements from TD Bank.
Other planned Bearss campus improvements include renovation of the middle school space and the addition of a gymnasium, tennis courts and a baseball field. No timetable has been set yet for those projects, Gauthier said.
Construction on phase one has been scheduled in such a way that it minimizes impacts on school operations.
Carrollwood Day School has been recognized nationally for its academic excellence and its quest to educate the whole child. It was the first school on the west coast of Florida to be authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer the Primary Years Programme for students through grade five, the IB Middle Years Programme, implemented in grades six through 10 and the IB Diploma Programme for students in grades 11 and 12.
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